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Agents OF SHIELD: Turn, Turn, Turn

Agents Of SHIELD Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

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#41 BklnScott

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 09:05 AM

Looking at the old review threads for the show, I am reminded that in the pilot Coulson injects Ward with truth serum and then leaves the room - whereupon Skye interrogates him. (The "Gramsy" bit.)

I wonder if they might revisit that scene now - to see if Ward might have revealed something incriminating that Skye (being a newbie) didn't catch.

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#42 G-man

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 09:10 AM

I don't think there was any conditioning involved at all.

Ward, according to the interview, had always felt marginalized, unheard, and taken for granted by SHIELD, and Garrett offered him purpose.  

With Skye, I get the impression that instead of her simply being a romantic love interest for Ward, here was someone who was willing to pay attention to him ... and THAT's the source of conflict.  At this late stage, long after Ward had made his decision, he had finally met someone who could fulfill his need, and now he must betray her.  So Ward is trapped between his duty to Hydra and his friendship with Skye.

/s/

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#43 Christopher

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 10:17 AM

View PostBklnScott, on 10 April 2014 - 09:05 AM, said:

Looking at the old review threads for the show, I am reminded that in the pilot Coulson injects Ward with truth serum and then leaves the room - whereupon Skye interrogates him. (The "Gramsy" bit.)

I wonder if they might revisit that scene now - to see if Ward might have revealed something incriminating that Skye (being a newbie) didn't catch.

Except a later episode revealed that there was no truth serum, that the whole thing was a scam to win Skye's trust. Which, in retrospect, is another clue -- Ward's true secrets weren't revealed at all.


As for your concerns that the producers are too timid to make Ward genuinely be a traitor... I think the perception that they were timid was an illusion resulting from the fact that they were required to avoid revealing their real game until after TWS came out. Most of this season so far has been one big misdirect. If it seems superficial, that's because it was a facade hiding the deeper plans that were being laid all along. So we mustn't let the impressions that were formed in the first 2/3 of the season shape our assumptions about what comes next, because those impressions were deliberately misleading.
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#44 NeuralClone

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 12:01 PM

I think people think the producers are too timid to actually make Ward a traitor because the entire show up until now has played it fairly safe. Nothing they've done indicates that they can take many risks on a big, mainstream ABC show. At least certainly not on this one. So I'll also believe it when I see it. Only when they've actually gone through with the change and committed to it will I be impressed.

They did such a good job "misleading" me that I became one of those "losers" that stopped watching the show entirely. Building an entire first season of a show around a plot twist in an unreleased movie that assumes you'll be seeing said movie on opening weekend is just incredibly bad storytelling and it's even worse marketing. My assumptions about where they go next are based on how this show has been run from the beginning. I'd like to see it become smarter and actually commit to this story. But I'm not holding my breath.

As for the foreshadowing, I consider one camera pan and maybe one line of ambiguous dialogue to be pretty weak. Yeah it's foreshadowing but it feels like they realized they needed to include something at the last minute. Those aren't things that feel built into the series.

Edited by NeuralClone, 10 April 2014 - 12:07 PM.

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#45 Raijin

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 01:08 PM

I have never liked a single thing by Joss Whedon at the start but ended up liking most later on. So we'll see, maybe this is a turning point for the show. Also my possibly favorite show of all, Farscape, I quit twice in season 1.

Edited by Raijin, 10 April 2014 - 01:08 PM.


#46 G-man

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 01:32 PM

I'm going to have to go with NC on this one.

Despite their best intentions, the show was essentially laying pipe and treading water until The Winter Soldier came along.  In essence, they spent most of the first season setting everything up for a pay-off, which is demanding a lot from the viewership to keep on tuning in week after week for tepid episodes.  They really needed to tighten up their narrative; and to have the program predicated on the movies instead of running parallel to them, really hamstrung their production.

I kept on tuning in simply because I love the MCU and really, REALLY wanted to like this show, but even then, I found that trying to rewatch an episode was a chore and a half and normally I gave up after a few minutes.

Maybe the show will work better when it is viewed as a whole, as opposed to trying to watch it episode by episode.

/s/

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Edited by G-man, 10 April 2014 - 02:14 PM.

Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, so that all may profit by it.
Let me think of the right and lend my assistance to all who may need it, with no regard for anything but justice.
Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.
Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens, and my associates in everything I say and do.
Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.
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#47 NeuralClone

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 02:19 PM

I think if they had done a better job laying the groundwork for this particular shift in direction, I would have hung around to continue watching. That is, if they had made the episodes leading up to this episode more interesting. This twist would carry a lot more weight if they had done a better job setting it up and making us really like the team and the characters. To make Ward's betrayal effective, it should feel like we're also betrayed along with the team. While I know some people really like the characters, for me they never grew beyond the bland, cliched characters they were in the pilot. So it made it really difficult for me to get all that invested in them or the things they investigated every week.

Maybe Agents of SHIELD has more foreshadowing than we realize. Maybe it doesn't. All I know is that I found it to be a huge chore watching the episodes I did watch the first time because the stories weren't compelling and the characters weren't particularly interesting. And that really isn't a good way to draw people into a story or make them feel much when something big finally does happen. There's really no reason why they couldn't have built this big betrayal into the show and then built other interesting stories into the series as well, all while quietly working towards Ward's betrayal in the background.

HBO's Game of Thrones (and by extension, A Song of Ice and Fire, the book series it's based on) is an excellent example of a TV series that has lots of setup and lots of payoff/plot twists. It works so well because it makes you care about (or loathe) the characters. It carefully seeds big plot twists and shifts in direction for many episodes. When the big payoff happens, it doesn't feel like it came out of nowhere. It may catch you off guard when it happens but if you rewatch or reread the story, the clues are all carefully weaved into it, which makes rewatches and rereads more rewarding. When you get to the big payoff episodes or chapters, it feels earned. And it makes you want to keep watching or reading to see what happens next.

Edited by NeuralClone, 10 April 2014 - 02:23 PM.

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#48 G-man

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 03:05 PM

Actually, I think the difference is that Game of Thrones actually had a rich and detailed tapestry to draw from that they could weave all the disparate parts together.

OTOH, Agents of SHIELD, instead of delving into the Kafkaesque bureaucracy that is SHIELD, and the frustrations of working for such an organization, what with the filing of paperwork for personnel, requisitions, building a case for approvals, negotiating rights for operations, and basically getting screwed over by rival factions within the organization who have their own priorities ... making it as much a work-place sitcom as a spy-thriller set in a comic-book universe ... they could have definitely planted seeds for misdirections and everything, as well as deepen the world building that they were trying for.

Imagine the drama as they seek to get help for Skye after she's been shot, only to realize that a) she has no insurance; and b) officially, she had yet to join SHIELD and therefore was ineligible to receive medical care at a SHIELD facility, and the amount of wheeling dealing and calling in of favors, the team would have to go through in order to get her treated.

As it was, SHIELD was always this nebulous entity that seemingly had no limits, and the odd visits to the Hub and the Academy really did nothing to clear things up.  They were simply introducing yet more bland characters and contrived situations ... oh, and SHIELD's propensity for jerking their own folks around.

/s/

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Edited by G-man, 10 April 2014 - 03:08 PM.

Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, so that all may profit by it.
Let me think of the right and lend my assistance to all who may need it, with no regard for anything but justice.
Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.
Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens, and my associates in everything I say and do.
Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.
-- Doc Savage

Few people want to be moderated, most people see the need for everyone else to be moderated. -- Orpheus

#49 FarscapeOne

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 03:16 PM

I haven't seen THOR 2 or THE WINTER SOLDIER yet, but I definitely want to see the latter.  Particularly since the first CAPTAIN AMERICA was my favorite of the Marvel movies before THE AVENGERS, second only to the first IRON MAN, and it only barely edges ahead.  (Anything that adds an AC/DC song gets instant points in their favor.)

I agree that it would be better to have Ward stay bad... it will make him more interesting.  I don't see Caulson giving Ward the go ahead to do anything it takes to get in with Garrett and infiltrate HYDRA, particularly if it meant killing other SHIELD agents.  Especially Hand.  She was the highest ranked loyal one left, according to dialogue.

#50 DWF

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 03:29 PM

SHIELD has been around for some 40 years it has pretty rich history too.  And it appears as though Ward's foreshadowing happened after they were picked up for the full season.
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#51 NeuralClone

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 03:49 PM

View PostG-man, on 10 April 2014 - 03:05 PM, said:

Actually, I think the difference is that Game of Thrones actually had a rich and detailed tapestry to draw from that they could weave all the disparate parts together.
Well, yes. That obviously helps a ton. The book series is incredibly detailed and has thousands of years of history that serves as the backdrop for the larger story.

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OTOH, Agents of SHIELD, instead of delving into the Kafkaesque bureaucracy that is SHIELD, and the frustrations of working for such an organization, what with the filing of paperwork for personnel, requisitions, building a case for approvals, negotiating rights for operations, and basically getting screwed over by rival factions within the organization who have their own priorities ... making it as much a work-place sitcom as a spy-thriller set in a comic-book universe ... they could have definitely planted seeds for misdirections and everything, as well as deepen the world building that they were trying for.

Imagine the drama as they seek to get help for Skye after she's been shot, only to realize that a) she has no insurance; and b) officially, she had yet to join SHIELD and therefore was ineligible to receive medical care at a SHIELD facility, and the amount of wheeling dealing and calling in of favors, the team would have to go through in order to get her treated.

As it was, SHIELD was always this nebulous entity that seemingly had no limits, and the odd visits to the Hub and the Academy really did nothing to clear things up.  They were simply introducing yet more bland characters and contrived situations ... oh, and SHIELD's propensity for jerking their own folks around.
While you're obviously joking about most of that (at least I hope you are :D), I get what you're saying and mostly agree with you. There are tons of things they could be doing to help deepen the characters and the world far more than they have up to this point. Game of Thrones has an advantage by having a rich and detailed book series to draw upon but Agents of SHIELD has the comic books and movies to draw upon. A book series like A Song of Ice and Fire is obviously more detailed than a comic book series. However, that doesn't make the history for SHIELD any less worthy to be adapted for the show. I've seen shows that completely start from scratch that have better world building and stories than Agents of SHIELD does, and SHIELD has decades of material to draw upon plus several big budget movies. It just hasn't been doing any of that for the most part.

Agents of SHIELD seems to exist simply to expand on the end of The Winter Soldier. At least that seems to be its new purpose. While that's great and I have nothing against the show exploring the setting created by that movie, it doesn't excuse its almost complete lack of interest in doing anything else before that point. There are just so many things they could be exploring in the Marvel universe from the perspective of SHIELD. The show could have been setup to be a spy thriller with a mix of corporate and political stuff. There are certainly elements of those things but there just isn't enough of any of them. The show meanders along and seems rather uncertain exactly what it wants to be or who it wants to appeal to.

The premise for the show has so much potential that it's very frustrating seeing it not tapping into pretty much any of it. Again, this latest plot twist has the potential to shake things up in a manner that might make the show a lot better. But that's assuming they even commit to the changes and don't find a convenient way to reset things. The bottom line is it feels like they needed to do more to get to this point. A lot more.

Edited by NeuralClone, 10 April 2014 - 03:56 PM.

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#52 zerosnark

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 06:23 PM

If Hand was the highest level loyal person left -> then Shield was in big trouble. She was pretty quick to target Coulson and Garrett before arriving at the Hub. A serious lapse in judgment in a critical situation. And ordering Garretts death on the way to the fridge was seriously over the line. Clearly Hand was not part of the solution (.. . therefore a problem)

Perhaps Coulson and Ward realized that this was a possibility and had discussed this in advance? Or Ward acted on his own when he realized that Hand was really no better than Hydra?  That would certainly explain the pained look he had in the last scene.Of course, this makes them no better than Hand or Garrett.

The simplest explanation, however, is that Ward has turned. The one thing that seems to have been overlooked in this threat is the very high probability that Ward's concern for Skye was VERY, VERY faked. Remember that this line really took hold after the parapalegic Clarevoyant was shot. The "worried about Skye" line only came after an excuse for this incident was needed.

Regardless, I think we can count on Ward being evil for the next several episodes. If he acts against Garrett, it would only be in the season cliffhanger. Reading some of the interviews online leads me to the fact they have a lot vested in this storyline.

(edited to re-add the first paragraph that got lost)

Edited by zerosnark, 10 April 2014 - 07:02 PM.


#53 NeuralClone

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 06:29 PM

The problem with Coulson having anything to do with Ward turning is that the existence of HYDRA wasn't even known until they openly attacked Nick Fury. He had been suspecting that something was off with SHIELD for a while but even he didn't think that HYDRA had infiltrated SHIELD that deeply. Nor did he know that it still existed. Coulson is several security clearances lower than Fury, which means Fury would have access to tons of stuff that Coulson wouldn't even know exists. No, I think it's safe to assume that Ward is HYDRA and any reactions he had regarding his actions were because of the friendships he formed while being a member of Coulson's team (mainly Skye).
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#54 Christopher

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 06:56 PM

^Exactly. It's impossible that Ward was planted in HYDRA by Coulson or Fury, because if Fury had known about HYDRA in advance, he would've been able to act far sooner to stop them and the events of The Winter Soldier would never have happened.

And we know now that Ward was sending information to the Clairvoyant/HYDRA months ago, as Maurissa Tancharoen herself pointed out: In episode 10, Coulson told Ward about his ex-girlfriend the cellist, and in episode 11, Raina used her knowledge of the cellist to manipulate Coulson. She knew about the cellist because Ward told her. He was already working for the enemy then, and no doubt has been since before the series started, since Garrett trained him, after all.
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#55 sierraleone

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 07:37 PM

View PostFarscapeOne, on 10 April 2014 - 03:16 PM, said:

I agree that it would be better to have Ward stay bad... it will make him more interesting.  I don't see Caulson giving Ward the go ahead to do anything it takes to get in with Garrett and infiltrate HYDRA, particularly if it meant killing other SHIELD agents.  Especially Hand.  She was the highest ranked loyal one left, according to dialogue.

I don't know..... I am curious whether Ward is a true believer in HYRDA (thanks for the history on Hyrda NeuralClone, so I can figure out what that would entail), just twisting with the wind/going with the presumed-winner like his old SO, and/or just a sociopath. And I am having a hard time separating the latter two ;) And I don't find those interesting.... they could explore and develop it in interesting ways I suppose. We'll see if they do :) I guess I don't find fictional bad people in media very interesting. And an ex-Naxi and/or opportunistic sociopath, while can leave to interesting story lines, I find are often made too black/white in media to be interesting in and of themselves.

View PostNeuralClone, on 09 April 2014 - 08:09 PM, said:

I can definitely see them going in a direction with this where Ward's dedication to HYDRA's cause is questioned and that makes him doubt where he belongs. Maybe then he'll decide to start working against HYDRA. But for now I think it seems likely he's a HYDRA member and always has been.

Quote

And then in "Seeds," there's a really nice moment where Skye is standing at the wall of valor, and we hear Coulson's voice off-camera saying that the world is full of evil, pain, lies and death -- and the camera pans and lands on Ward when he says "lies" and "evil."
Those are some pretty weak pieces of foreshadowing.


What I thought was a chilling piece of foreshadowing was when Skye gave Ward the device with all their information, saying it would be safer with him since he hasn't gotten to training in her in resisting torture yet. "That will come" was his answer, IIRC, or pretty close to it.

This also means Ward/Hyrda has all that information. I also wonder what Hydra thinks about Skye's 084ness. If they figure/know it makes her special, in addition to her technical skills, they may want to try to use her/make her work for them.

Edited by sierraleone, 10 April 2014 - 07:49 PM.

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#56 Christopher

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 08:54 PM

View PostNeuralClone, on 09 April 2014 - 08:09 PM, said:

Those are some pretty weak pieces of foreshadowing.


Well, it's not like they wanted to make it easy to figure out.
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#57 DWF

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 09:28 PM

View PostChristopher, on 10 April 2014 - 08:54 PM, said:

View PostNeuralClone, on 09 April 2014 - 08:09 PM, said:

Those are some pretty weak pieces of foreshadowing.


Well, it's not like they wanted to make it easy to figure out.

Easy or hard really what difference does it make? People were wrong about Coulson being an LMD in fact the whole Coulson angle was probably meant a red herring anyway.
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#58 243Skunk

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 11:06 PM

View PostChristopher, on 10 April 2014 - 06:56 PM, said:

^Exactly. It's impossible that Ward was planted in HYDRA by Coulson or Fury, because if Fury had known about HYDRA in advance, he would've been able to act far sooner to stop them and the events of The Winter Soldier would never have happened.

And we know now that Ward was sending information to the Clairvoyant/HYDRA months ago, as Maurissa Tancharoen herself pointed out: In episode 10, Coulson told Ward about his ex-girlfriend the cellist, and in episode 11, Raina used her knowledge of the cellist to manipulate Coulson. She knew about the cellist because Ward told her. He was already working for the enemy then, and no doubt has been since before the series started, since Garrett trained him, after all.

On the outside, (and I admit, this is really a remote chance..) I could see Coulson pulling Ward to the side right before he got on the plane and telling him "if Hand goes rouge, deal with it". But that would be so out of character for Coulson to do, especially in his reaction when the fake Clairvoiant was killed, it would be almost unthinkable. But Whedon likes twists so I am almost expecting something like this, if the choose him to be "not evil".

#59 243Skunk

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 11:25 PM

View PostChristopher, on 09 April 2014 - 11:44 PM, said:

If I remember right, the scene you're talking about came after Coulson had realized Garrett was the HYDRA mole. And he knew that Hand had tried to shoot Garrett down, which meant they were on opposite sides. He'd initially thought that Hand was the HYDRA agent and Garrett was the loyal one, but once he knew Garrett was the HYDRA agent, it followed that Hand was on SHIELD's side.

I can live with this answer. However, I still don't think Coulson would have trusted Hand not to shoot him right there on the spot. Remember, he wouldn't have known that Hand was watching everything. Ward/Skye had blown the power for the fight scene (though, granted, the big reveal happened prior to that). He didn't know that secret listening devices were planted thoughout the complex, and if he did he probably would have destroyed them prior to the big reveal. Not to mention, When the tac team came running in (the first time) Garrett had half the team shoot the other half. Coulson wouldn't IRL had trusted that Hand was on the side of the angels, so to speak. Or in the very least, everybody on her team being on the side of the angels.

(Yes, IRL and MCU are like matter/anti-matter, but I digress....like I said, I can live with this answer.)

#60 G-man

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 10:33 AM

Hmmm ...

OK, let's see now.

May was reporting to Fury behind the team's back, after first developing the criteria to give to Coulson to select his team.

Ward was reporting to Garrett behind the team's back -- I totally forgot that Skye gave Ward the download from the Bus' databases -- they are so screwed.

Garrett was "the Clairvoyant", well, that explains why he was so willing to help the team defy orders to find TAHITI.

Coulson was probably only answerable to Fury, or so he felt ... although, when Hand called, he answered.
Hand may or may not have been answerable to Fury.

Fury answered to Pierce who was on the World Security Council ... who answered to ... the UN?

Obviously, by preserving "deniability" and making SHIELD nigh-answerable to no-one was a deep-dyed plot of HYDRA to allow them to draw on SHIELD resources to freely operate most anywhere in the world.

Of course, with the demise of SHIELD, hopefully we'll see the team having their run ins with the FBI, CIA, NSA, TSA, FAA, etc. whenever they operate within the US; as well as have to deal with the other nations in a more egalitarian manner.  Since, for all practical purposes, SHIELD's reputation has been thoroughly trashed and they have lost the authority (both positional and moral) that they once had enjoyed.

Now the question is, will Ward remain the mole on Coulson's team, or has he fled with Garrett?  If he remains, that will allow him to remain with the main cast on the show, even after his turn.  OTOH, if he's scarpered, that would very much tip HYDRA's hand to Coulson that there was a turn-coat on his team, which would certainly contribute to Coulson's blossoming trust issues.

/s/

Gloriosus
the G-man Himself

Edited by G-man, 11 April 2014 - 10:37 AM.

Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, so that all may profit by it.
Let me think of the right and lend my assistance to all who may need it, with no regard for anything but justice.
Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.
Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens, and my associates in everything I say and do.
Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.
-- Doc Savage

Few people want to be moderated, most people see the need for everyone else to be moderated. -- Orpheus



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